Volume 13, Issue 10 (October, 2009)

Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. - New Site
4. National Medal of Science Honors
5. Book Review
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in September including:

A. September Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Redheads and Dental Anxiety
C. Placebo, Control Groups and the Challenge of Inferring Causality

In September, 6 new figures were added and 37 pages were modified.



The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for October is "The Brain Observatory" at:

The Brain Observatory is a lab at the University of California at San Diego and according to their web site, their mission is:

"... dedicated to the study of the architecture in the human brain. We have optimized multiple complementary imaging modalities, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and computer-controlled microscopy, to illustrate the detailed structural design of the brain and to understand how cognitive systems are perturbed by neurological disease."

The Brain Observatory web site highlights the work going on in the lab. One project is creating a map of the brain of one of the most famous patients in neuroscience named "HM" (Henry Molaison). Mr. Molaison, who passed away on December 2, 2008, was hit by a bicycle and developed seizures when he was nine years old. After a brain operation to control his seizures, Mr. Molaison was left with a strange memory problem: he could remember things that happened before the operation, but he could not form new memories! The Brain Observatory is developing an atlas of Molaison's brain and will make it available on the Internet. The Brain Observatory web site has a few newspaper and magazine articles that describe this project.

You can also watch two interesting videos (one in English and one in Italian) that describe the work of the Brain Observatory. Several portions of the web site are still being developed (for example, a virtual microscope) and some pages appear to be password protected. Nevertheless, the web site has some interesting material and it will be even better when more content is available to the public.


Over the years, people have asked me where they can buy some of the materials from the Neuroscience for Kids web site. Because the Neuroscience for Kids web site is housed at the University of Washington, I cannot sell anything. However, after working with the university technology transfer office, I have a new resource -- NEURO4KIDS.COM, at:

Before I continue, let me make a few things very clear:

1. NEURO4KIDS.COM is not part of the University of Washington; it is an independent company.

2. I am the owner of NEURO4KIDS.COM.

3. The original Neuroscience for Kids web site will remain (and grow) and be FREE to use and WITHOUT advertisements.

So, if you are interested, take a look at -- if there are materials on the Neuroscience for Kids web site that you would like, let me know (but use the email address on the NEURO4KIDS.COM web site).


At a White House ceremony on October 7, 2009, President Barack Obama will present nine scientists with the National Medal of Science. Of these nine scientists, two (Dr. Joanna Fowler and Dr. Michael Posner) are neuroscientists. Dr. Fowler is involved with the development of radiotracers that can be used in brain imaging studies. Dr. Posner is a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience and has studied brain development and attention.

Complete List of National Medal of Science Recipients
Dr. Berni Alder,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA
Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health, MD
Dr. Joanna Fowler, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY
Dr. Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, NY
Dr. James Gunn, Princeton University, NJ
Dr. Rudolf Kalman, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
Dr. Michael Posner, University of Oregon, OR
Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Dr. J. Craig Venter, J. Craig Venter Institute, MD & CA


"My Brain. My Body" by Sally Hewitt, QEB Publishing, 2008, 24 pages [978 1 595665539].

Grade Level: Kindergarten to Grade 3

Science books for children are difficult to write. Authors of these books must take a difficult subject and create a book that young readers can understand and enjoy. Writers must also consider how much detail to include and what topics to leave out. "My Body. My Brain" does a decent job introducing the nervous system to children, but it is not without problems.

Author Sally Hewitt divides her book into two page sections each discussing a different topic: nerves, senses, reflexes, memory, learning, emotions, and brain health. There are plenty of colorful photographs and drawings to illustrate each topic. Unfortunately, there are a few factual errors. For example, the brain is said to be the color gray. The brain is not gray. Rather, the brain is a pinkish-white color. Also, Hewitt mentions that "...all animals have brains." This is not true. Some animals, such as jellyfish and sea stars, do not have a brain. As long as these errors are pointed out, I would still recommend this book for young children. Mistakes can sometimes be the best teachers.


A. Museum Exhibits "Journey Through the Brain" at the Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, "Body Worlds. The Brain" at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (PA).

B. "The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind" by Carl Zimmer (Time magazine, September 21, 2009).

C. "Bodies in Sync" by Frans de Waal (Natural History magazine, September, 2009) discusses contagious laughter and yawns.

D. "Turbocharging the Brain--Pills to Make Your Smarter" by Gary Stix (Scientific American, October, 2009).


A. Mayim Bialik, the actress who played the title character in the 1990s TV comedy show "Blossom," received her bachelor's degree (2000) and Ph.D. (2007) in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). (Source:

B. An analysis of approximately 50,000 words in the 20th edition of Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary showed that 58.5%, 21.77% and 13.23% of the words came from Greek alone, Latin alone or a combination of Greek and Latin, respectively. (Source: Butler, R.F., Sources of medical vocabulary, J. Medical Education, 55:128-129, 1980.)

C. The word "doctor" comes from the Latin word "docere" meaning "to teach." Therefore, a doctor can be a teacher who holds an advanced degree in just about any subject.

D. Barbital, one of the first barbituate drugs, was introduced in 1903. The trade name for barbital was "Veronal," referring to Verona, Italy, where Juliet (of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) took a drug that put her to sleep.

E. Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. On October 2, 1919, Wilson had a stroke on the right side of his brain that paralyzed the left side of his body and unable to see the left visual field (left homonymous hemianopia). (Source: Owen, D., Diseased, demented, depressed: serious illness in Heads of State, QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 96:325-336, 2003).


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To remove yourself from this mailing list and stop your subscription to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter, send e-mail to Dr. Eric H. Chudler at:

Your comments and suggestions about this newsletter and the "Neuroscience for Kids" web site are always welcome. If there are any special topics that you would like to see on the web site, just let me know.


Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.